Development is an area that there are far more things that have been done wrong than have been done right. As a result I have created a few rules or axioms that I have found are a great use in avoiding pitfalls that others get into over and over. These are broad ideas that should always be present in your mind when doing and/or studying anything in development.
- Focus on any one thing too much and you will start to effect things that you never thought you were effecting.
- Understand why someone makes the decisions that they do before you do anything to try to get them to change those decisions.
- Challenge every assumption that you have. Even the ones that you have never questioned before.
- If you think the poor are irrational, know that you haven’t done 2 and 3 above.
- “Doing good” can become a veil that stops learning within organizations and people.
- At the end of the day, emotions and intentions are irrelevant to the poor’s needs.
These next three are more for my own direction in development but important to think about.
- You either need time and/or money to do anything of substance in development at a young age and I don’t believe it needs to be this way.
- Business is not seen as social impact even though most aid work is geared towards increasing business activity of the poor.
- China has had the greatest success in poverty reduction in modern history but it is just a footnote for those in development.